Text Analysis - The Social Network Resource Page


Unit Outline

  • Viewing the film twice
  • Comprehension activities - Plot, Setting, Characters, Themes, Film Techniques - Powerpoint
  • Scene Analysis - Modelling, Practice
  • Social Media - An exploration
  • The Summative Task will be an in-class supervised response.
  • The date for this task TBA


Task Description

You are to complete an essay that explores the following topic question. In your essay, you must refer to the following:

- the main characters and relationships in the film

- the main themes

- Allan Sorkin’s use of dialogue to tell this story

- David Fincher’s film techniques totell the story.

You must also include at least THREE quotes from the movie and explain how they are relevant to the essay topic/point you are making.


"This is less a film about the beginnings of Facebook and more about friendship and betrayal."

Assessment Criteria
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the film’s different elements
  • Use of examples and quotations to support general points made
  • Logical structure for the essay including correct paragraphing
  • Competent expression including the use of specific terms for film techniques
  • Demonstrated proof reading and editing
  • Well-presented
SACE Performance Standards for this task are:
Knowledge and Understanding KU1, KU3
Analysis An1, Application App2, Communication C1, C2


  • Various Review Podcasts

AUDIO COMMENTS FROM MR MCK on the Film (some are missing due to the recorder not working!)


Questions for Discussion

  1. What are your experiences of Facebook? What do you see as its benefits and drawbacks?
  2. What did you think of the film? How did it make you feel? How did you respond to Mark?
    Pixar Studios (the creators of Toy Story etc) have a simple formula for the distillation of any story. Here it is....
    Once upon a Time....
    Every Day.......
    One Day......
    Because of that.......
    Because of that......
    Until Finally.......
    Your task is to follow this formula for summarising the story of The Social Network. Do this in no more than 200 words.
  4. 'There's a difference between being obsessed and motivated,' Mark assures his girlfriend. What is Mark most passionate about? How much is he prepared to sacrifice in pursuit of his goals?
  5. 'I was your only friend - you had one friend,' Eduardo tells Mark across the deposition table. What is Mark and Eduardo's friendship like? Why did it break down?
  6. What did you make of the film's portrayal of Harvard's elitist culture? How did this influence the main characters?
  7. 'I'm six-five, 220 pounds and there are two of me,' says Tyler Winklevoss. What are the Winklevoss' strengths and weaknesses?
  8. Sean Parker: 'You know what's cooler than a million dollars?' Eduardo Saverin: 'You?' Sean Parker: 'A billion dollars.' How are the themes of 'coolness' and money played out through the film?Facebook has around 500 million members worldwide. What impact has it had on our culture?
  9. 'Who are you? . . . I mean, what do you do?' Mark asked junior lawyer Marylin Delpy. In what ways does Facebook encourage us to define ourselves? How does this affect our concept of identity?
  10. 'As if every thought that tumbles through your head was so clever it would be a crime for it not to be shared,' Mark's ex Erica snaps at Mark. Why are people drawn to the idea of broadcasting their personal lives on the internet?
  11. 'The internet's not written in pencil, Mark. It's written in ink,' states Erica, seething at the comments he blogged about her. Why is the typed word so powerful? Why is it tempting to misuse this power online? What positive things can social-networking sites achieve when used to their full potential?
  12. '[Mark's] from a logged-in, left-out generation that knows little of beauty and even less of feeling,' says Empire. Do you agree, and why/why not? How might this generation resolve these problems and learn to connect with people on a deeper level?
  13. By the end of the film, what judgements - if any - do you think the film ultimately makes about Mark and the creation of Facebook?


Connection and deification
Contrasts between Into the wild and The Social Network. Same aged males. Don't quite fit into 'normal' social structures for men their age. Both highly intelligent. Neither particularly values material possessions although Zuckerberg ends up being the world's youngest billionaire. But they fashion very distinctive responses to their 'alienation'.
First - explore the nature of their alienation. What makes each think they don't fit in? How do they express that alienation? How does each film portray it?

Then they respond and here is where the contrasts start to open up.
Chris strives for solitary communion with the natural environment. He looks to stare survival In the face and challenge himself to the ultimate test of character. He takes solace and inspiration from literature and personal freedom. He seeks solitude but is ultimately most fulfilled in company - and he realizes this at the end - "Happiness best when Shared."
And the film is consequently an Open one. Dialogue is sparse, shots are expansive and the framing leads you beyond the character's personal space to see his often insignificance in the landscape. Chris's story is told through VoiceOver, visuals and music/ song lyrics. Ultimately Chris is reduced, in the face of this natural environment to a starving skeleton. But did he achieve an epiphany at the end? Did he literally see the light and encounter God?

Mark is similarly alienated from society, but in a different way, and with a radically different response. He is a nerd in a time when nerds were really strengthening their reign in western society. He also sought the challenge of pushing something to its ultimate conclusion, but for him it was software, networks, online experience and trying to connect others and himself in this way. He struggled in the real world of social engagement. His world was entirely closed. The framing was increasingly restrictive, tighter and tighter into a world with him facing his screens in almost religious rapture just as Chris was spinning on the mountain top in Alaska as a god of his world, so does Mark end up being a god of his world.
And the film follows this - heavily driven by constant, fast and snappy dialogue. Closed environments, reduced framing, dark and interior all of which reflects the world that Mark inhabits and seems to thrive in. Personal connection is tenuous and often fractious, but the end goal is global human connectivity.
Each became a god in their worlds.

But do these two films tell us something about our modern western world? Are we more comfortable with the closed, technologically based world of Zuckerberg where connection with the environment and others is a mediated experience through a screen and where connection is sought but often solitude is found - or are we more like Chris, where solitude is sought, but human connection is made organically, naturally and profoundly?
Given that Chris's experience was in 1991 and Mark's in 2003+, history would suggest that the the closed world is prevailing, that the frame is ,ironically, getting tighter. Will any of our children seek the personal freedom and avoidance of material possession that Chris craved? Is his story now just history - and are we fully in the reign of the nerds??


Google Map of Boston and Harvard - click on the + button to zoom in to Harvard

Google Map of Palo Alto, California